Delaware Registered Agent: An Easy Way to Stay Informed

All companies, partnerships, and limited liability companies must have a registered agent to register with Delaware.

This registered agent has statutory responsibilities, which include receiving all legal documents on behalf of your business.

What is a Delaware registered agent?

A registered agent is an individual or business entity designated to receive all the official state correspondence on behalf of your business. It must be authorized to accept legal papers, service of process, summons, tender notice, and any other documents sent by the Delaware Division of Corporations (Duc).

The registered agent must also maintain a physical business address within Delaware for all correspondence purposes.

The registered agent acts as an admin to your business, ensuring its compliance with the state regulations of Delaware and other official duties.

The registered agent’s responsibilities include:

  • Receiving all legal documents on behalf of your company, partnership, or limited liability company;
  • Mail forwarding all the official correspondence from Duc;
  • Keeping your business information updated with the state;
  • Resolving any questions from Duc on behalf of your company; and,
  • Any other service that is required by Delaware’s regulations.

Unless stated in the certificate of formation or organization of your company, limited liability company, or partnership, the registered agent cannot engage with any financial actions on behalf of your business. They can only act as an admin and a liaison between you and the state.

Do I really need a registered agent in Delaware?

Yes, all businesses registered within the state must have a Delaware registered agent.

It is against the law for your business to carry out any activity without one. You can still register your business with Duc if you do not have a Delaware registered agent; however, they will be unable to receive any correspondence or official documents on your behalf.

Pros and cons of Delaware registered agents.

While having a registered agent does add an extra layer of business administration, it is necessary to ensure your company complies with the state regulations.

The pros include:

  1. Your business will be compliant with Delaware’s laws.
  2. It will help you avoid any fines or penalties from the state.
  3. You do not need to worry about the duties of a registered agent, as they are legally bound by law. However, it must be noted that having an individual or corporation represent your business in this way could potentially result in a conflict of interest issues.
  4. You do not need to worry about the complaint history of your agent, as all illegal or fraudulent activity will be seen as a reflection on you.

The cons include:

  1. The registered agent will charge you a fee for handling all the state correspondence.
  2. The agent can potentially charge you for any other services your business may require.
  3. The registered agent can revoke the powers of his position at any time.
  4. The agent can potentially use their authority to carry out any fraudulent activity on behalf of your business.
  5. It is required by law that you maintain a RETAINED AGENT. The retention of the registered agent means they cannot be replaced at any time unless for justified reasons or some compensation. However, if you cannot retain your registered agent, they may not be your best choice.

It is important to note that there are specific rules which govern the actions of a Delaware registered agent. It would help if you researched these rules before selecting an individual or organization to represent your company.

Can I be my own registered agent in Delaware?

It is technically illegal for you to be your own registered agent. You can still register your business with Duc without a registered agent; however, if you choose this option, then legally, the Delaware Department of State will still consider you as the registered agent.

Who can be a registered agent in Delaware?

Anyone can be your registered agent. There are no restrictions to who you choose, but they must be on the state’s list of registered agents and have a street address within Delaware.  

Here is a link to that list: http://www.delawareregisteredagentlist.com/

How much does a registered agent service cost in Delaware?

Prices vary amongst registered agent services. Many registered agents in Delaware will offer package deals for multiple companies to be serviced off one account, saving you time and money.

Most packages start at around $30 a year per company. However, this can rise depending on how many companies are being serviced with your account.

 The registered agent service will likely charge a fee for sending official mail on your behalf, like registered mail and certified mail. This is why it’s best to use your own company post box address as a Delaware registered agent.

How does a business owner select a registered agent in Delaware?

Registered agents are selected during the business registration process with Duc. If you choose a package deal, you will be able to select multiple registered agents at once, one for each company.

However, if you decide to use your own post box address as a Delaware registered agent, this must be included in the certificate of formation or organization document accordingly.

List of Delaware registered agent services.

There are hundreds of registered agent services in Delaware; here is a list of some of them:

ZenBusiness, Inc.  

ZenBusiness is one of Delaware’s largest registered agent companies, with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.

Their Registered Agent service includes:

  • Receiving official and legal correspondences on your behalf;
  • Forwarding these correspondences to you per your instructions;
  • Keeping their own updated records of your business information;
  • Resolving questions from the Delaware Department of State with regards to your company’s status or official documents;
  • Assisting in filing annual reports and franchise taxes with the state.

Pricing:

 ZenBusiness has a range of package deals for multiple companies to be serviced off one account, saving you time and money.

Most packages start at around $60 per year per company, with discounts given by the more companies you have included in your service.

Registered Agent Delaware, LLC  

Registered Agent Delaware is also a huge company with the highest clientele out of all the registered agent services in Delaware. They provide many packages deals to suit your needs:

  • One package includes receiving official documents on your behalf, forwarding them to you via email, keeping your company’s records up to date, responding to questions from the Delaware Department of State regarding official documents, and resolving issues by submitting necessary filings. Annual report filing costs $20, and franchise taxes are charged at a rate of 0.22% depending on where in the state the business is based. Following this package, you can pay a fee for them to send official documents and correspondence on your behalf. Many other registered agent services in Delaware provide similar packages that include all of these services, allowing you to save time and money.
  • Another package includes all of the above services with add-on features like helping with preparing paperwork, setting up your own company website, etc.

Pricing:

The main package deal costs $120 per year for a limited liability company (LLC). If you must submit additional forms like an entity statement or amendments, you will be charged an additional state fee. Additional packages cost $85-$225 per year, depending on the offered level of service.

Dunc Account LLC

Dunc Account LLC is another large registered agent service company that offers multiple companies to be serviced from one account. Their services include:

  • Receiving official documents on your behalf;
  • Forwarding these documents to you via email, keeping their own records up to date of your business information;
  • Resolving corporate questions with the Delaware Department of State;
  • Preparing and filing annual reports and franchise taxes with the state.

Pricing:  

Their packages are also based on how many companies you have included at once. The more companies that you include in your package, the greater the discount you will receive.

The corporation basic package costs $120 for one year, $370 for three years, and $600 for five years. The LLC basic package costs $120 for one year, $370 for three years, and $600 for five years.

The Delaware Registered Agent, Inc.  

Delaware Registered Agent is a fairly large registered agent company with its main office in New Castle, DE. Their services include:

  • Receiving official documents on your behalf;
  • Forwarding these documents to you via email address, keeping their own records up to date of your company information;
  • Resolving questions with the Delaware Department of State regarding official formation documents;
  • Preparing and filing annual reports and franchise taxes with the state.

Pricing:

 Their packages are also based on how many companies you include; the more companies included in a package, the greater the discounts.

The basic corporation package costs $85-$125 per year for one company, depending on which additional services you require.

What service to choose?

Depending on how much time you have available to register a Delaware corporation and maintain it, one service may be more useful than another.

  1. If you only need the minimum amount of customer service, such as just receiving official documents, then any registered agent will be efficient. Although if you’re looking for additional services like those offered by Registered Agent Delaware, then a larger registered agent service company is recommended.
  2. If you’re a small corporation with annual revenue of under $100,000, then the first package deal offered by Registered Agent Delaware or any other large registered agent may be best for your needs. If your revenue is over $100,000, then the additional business services offered in their higher-level packages will be useful to you.
  3. If it is more convenient for you to deal directly with the Delaware Department of State rather than a registered agent, Delaware Registered Agent Inc. or one of its competitors may be best for your needs. Although if you decide to go with this service, you will need time and dedication to handle all matters relating to your company filing service.
  4. And lastly, if you are a corporation dealing with lots of legal issues and transactions, then having a lawyer as your registered agent may be more cost-efficient for you.

To conclude, each Delaware registered agent service does the same job in different ways. Depending on how much time, dedication, and money you have available to register your Delaware corporation, one service may be more useful than another.

You can also contact the Delaware Department of State directly to see if you qualify for a free registered agent or if they have any other options for those low on funds. Visit their site at: { http://www.corp.delaware.gov/registered_agent/ } and contact them at:

Corporations Division – Registered Agent Section P.O. Box 898 Dover, DE 19903-0898 Phone service: (302) 739-4430 or toll-free in the U.S.: 1-(800)-638-4583 Fax: (302) 739-4285

Can a company change its registered agent?

There are no specific laws in Delaware that regulate a company from changing its registered agent. However, the Delaware Department of State may request to see evidence that your company has resolved any outstanding issues with your previous registered agent and will usually want to keep official documentation of this, so you should consider holding onto these when they are issued.

If you decide not to tell the Delaware Department of State that you have changed registered agents, this may result in fines or other issues.

What’s a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is a person appointed by the state to receive official documents on your behalf. This may be required if you are not planning on having an office or other presence in Delaware but still want to register your company there.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

A commercial registered agent is a registered agent service that other businesses will receive official documents, such as invoices and letters.

They charge a monthly fee for this service, allowing business owners to be more efficient when dealing with state paperwork and Delaware Department of State communications. If your company has its own registered agent, it cannot also be another company’s registered agent.

Issues with Not Having a Delaware Registered Agent

A Delaware registered agent is required by state law. Should you decide not to register your company in the DE, you will be deemed a statutory agent and may have some issues with the state when it comes time for you to file documents or communicate with them about your business.

If you are using an independent contractor as your registered agent, the registered agent company is not a licensed Delaware Registered Agent.

There are no specific penalties listed by state law regarding this. Still, you may end up having issues with your business paperwork, such as annual reports or franchise taxes, if they do not submit them on time or accurately because of being out-of-state.

If someone has used a residential address as their registered office, this is a strike on your business credibility. An in-state physical address will make customers and clients more likely to view you as a trustworthy company that deals honestly with its paperwork.

Delaware registered agent FAQ.

Q. What are the basic requirements of registering your Delaware incorporation with the DE Division of Corporations?

A. You must perform a detailed legal search to ensure that your company name is not too similar to an existing Delaware corporation, have at least one shareholder who resides in the DE, and has a registered address in the state.

Q. Can I use a P.O. Box for my registered agent and registered office address?

A. No, but you can use a private mailbox near your corporation’s headquarters to receive mail quickly as long as it’s resourced on file with the DE Division of Corporations.

Q. How can a corporate registered agent show its authority to act on behalf of a corporation?

A. When requested by the DE Division of Corporations, the registered agent must show that it is authorized to act as a corporate representative.

Conclusion

To legally register a company, you must have a registered agent to submit your business documents. The Delaware Department of State requires all companies who are registered in their state to have an address listed at the location where official documents can be received and distributed.

Choosing the right business for this role depends on several factors, such as how involved you want to be with your registered agent, the price, and other issues.

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